Weekly discussion on the NPR puzzler, brain teasers, math problems and more.
Q: Name a creature in nine letters. The name contains a T. Drop the T, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell two related modes of transportation. What are they?
A: BUTTERFLY --> UBER, LYFT
Here's my standard reminder... don't post the answer or any hints that could lead directly to the answer (e.g. via a chain of thought, or an internet search) before the deadline of Thursday at 3pm ET. If you know the answer, click the link and submit it to NPR, but don't give it away here.You may provide indirect hints to the answer to show you know it, but make sure they don't give the answer away. You can openly discuss your hints and the answer after the Thursday deadline. Thank you.
Very nice puzzle, mike hinterberg. It's great to see a fellow Blainsvillian score big on NPR!LegoWillNowHaveToRun"RippingOffMike"PuzzlesOnPuzzleria!
I just now solved Mike's puzzle. It is very solid. Will Shortz made an excellent choice this week. (No hint in this post).LegoJustGotLucky,NotUsuallyThisQuick
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Hmm, I think we need more of a hint, er, berg?
12 bits? And all we get to look at are cinders and cicadas?!LegoWhoIsPrettyConfidentHeWillNotBeBleepedByOurBelovedBlogAdministrator
After running a few errands and ruminating a few hours, I now believe there is only about a 98.6% chance that I have discovered Mike H.'s answer. (98.6?... oops, sorry, that's a leftover hint from last week.)What gives me pause is the wording of the puzzle's second sentence and beginning of its third. Still, I am reasonably sure I have Mike's answer. Indeed, if my answer differs from his it would not just be a two-cents-worth coincidence... it would be a million-silver-dollar coincidence. And I will have unwittingly created the greatest "Ripping Off Shortz" puzzle in my puzzling history!LegoTheKing'sDaintyDishPieContainsABlackbird,IGuess...DropItAnd23Remain
Mr Lego ..., I believe I have the same answer as you, but I can't quite make your clue work. When I translate the creature and break it into (1) and (2) as above, I come up one letter short. Is it possible this is an error? Thanks!
runon,With my posts, there is always a pretty good possibility of an error. (Just ask ViolinTeddy, who catches many of my goofs over on my Puzzleria! blog.)But in this case, I believe I did my translation correctly.#1 is a 5-letter word#2 is a 4-letter wordThe first letter of #1 is the same as the final letter of #2. The two words also share two other letters in common.Thanks for your post.LegoSays"Mr.Lego"WasMyFather...YouCanJustCalMeLego
Thanks Mr. Lego...If we don't have the same answer, they are amazing close. The difference between your translation and mine is that my translated creature name has only 8 letters. The missing letter from what it seems you might have as your translated creature name is the 2nd last letter of both my 5-letter (1) and 4-letter (2). As with your translation, the first letter of (1) is the last letter of (2).Perhaps there is an alternate 9-letter translation of the creature that I'm missing, or perhaps we translated in similar, but different, languages. Or perhaps its all just a remarkable coincidence!Thanks for taking the time to reply.
I'm not great with languages. English is the only one I can talk good in. But if I translate the critter into the language I studied in high school (which necessitates looking it up ... 'studied' is a relative term), I think there's another critter (in the same language) hiding in it. Then, if I drop that critter and read all the remaining letters from right to left, I get a number (in some language) followed by another critter (in English).
NOTE: This is an edited version (edited thanks to runon and Paul, above) of the flawed puzzle/hint-to-Mike's-NPR-puzzle that was in my just-now-deleted "Sunday at 8:56:00 AM PDT" post:Hint:Translate the creature in Mike Hinterberg’s NPR puzzle into another language. Double one of the vowels in this word and rearrange the nine letters of this "altered creature" to form two other words in that other language: 1. a different creature, and 2. a physical feature of this different creatureNow re-translate # 2 back to English. Its homophone, also in English, is a creature closely related to #1 (in the same family, but a different species).Lego,MeaCulpableResidentOfBabelTower(AdjacentToTrumpTower)
And this is an edited version of my Monday May 16 at 01:53:00 PM PDT post:runon (and Paul),My apologies. I did indeed goof and add a superfluous letter to the translation of the creature into another language. I was misspelling it as if it ended with a four-letter creature (in English). The translated creature is only 8 letters long, as you correctly inferred, not 9, as I mistakenly put forth in my seriously flawed puzzle!I shall now -- with my tail tucked ignominiously between my legs like the 4-letter 4-legged creature that didn't exist at the end of Mike's creature in its translated state (Louisiana?) -- delete my flawed puzzle and replace it with an edited version.Thank you for keeping me honest, runon.LegoMeaCulpaMeaCulpaMeaMaximaCulDad3.14159265...
Lego, I now have your answer as "the translated creature" indeed has 8 letters. The rest of it now falls into place. However your answer does not have two RELATED modes of transportation.I have three answers to Mike's puzzle, but only one has RELATED modes of transportation. In conclusion I think you may have the wrong answer, Lego.
ron,I applaud your discovery of three answers. I have sought others unsuccessfully. But I would argue that the two transportation modes in my sole puzzle answer are "related." I would also admit, however, that I may have the wrong answer. As noted earlier, I harbor qualms about trying to reconcile my solution with Mike/Will's second sentence.LegoRuesHisTranslationPuzzleBlooper
You are very welcome, Mr. Lego...What you might find interesting is that I actually solved the puzzle (or not, depending of your concern, which I share) by working backwards from your original clue (from the homophone). So, although there was a misspelling, it was close enough to get me there. Thanks!Also, I agree that the modes of transportation in our answer are closely related. I suspect Rob is anagramming the 8 letters differently. My guess is that one of Ron's modes would remind everyone of a Dan Quayle moment. That mode is not part of our answer.Thanks again.
I request that Will Shortz eliminate, or at least seriously reduce, the use of anagrams on his show.
I have an answer that works, but it is weak. It contains a proper noun too. How elegant are your answers?
I think I have the same answer you have, and I agree that it doesn't feel quite right.
Just solved this. Nice one. The answer is indeed elegant.
The answer I got was pretty obscure, and I do not know if it is the right one; but if you take one letter from the creature I got, and scramble, you get a word quite related to one in the puzzle as stated. ---Rob
Good one Mike.Like last week - Easy if you're paying attention.Now solve Mike's puzzle using a bird (8+T), but drop the word "related".
-- your answer, the creature is a bird?
Hummingbird, I was simply pointing out that Mike's puzzle produces a second answer if the word "related" is dropped, and the creature is a bird (to make things easier). Two unrelated modes of transportation result, but are not an alternative to the desired answer.
I may have an answer to your version of the puzzle. It depends on whether a MORON is a means of transportation...
Well, neglecting routine maintenance of one's vehicle to the point that it leaves one stranded and forced to walk isn't exactly the brightest thing to do...
By the way, I gave up using a certain mode of transportation after discovering those kids snickering at me.
CORMORANT = MORON + coa + tGUILLEMOT = LIMO + LUGE + t,I got a real lift over this puzzle.
Nick...this is for you...what was the answer to ur alternate puzzle a few weeks ago...musician and actor....
Glad you liked it (and glad it stumped you).The answer was BELA FLECK and BEN AFFLECK.Bela Fleck (just in case you've not heard of him) is the world's greatest banjo player.
A "scatterer" is a "creature," a "litterbug," and "car" and "trees" are modes of transport if you are Tarzan in the latter case. (litterbug -t = tube + girl, modes of transport)
I'll take the first letter, last letter, anagram, anything!
Seriously folks, I'm stumped!
If I read your hint correctly, I have the same answer as you. I don't really like it, but I think it works.
-- I was just googling for 9 letter words and find word puzzle geek heaven!
I have an answer, but I haven't submitted it yet. I don't like the fact that my answer requires one of modes of transport to take an article, but not the other.
Hey, what's an article, or two, between Blainiacs? Right, Mike?
Got it! I take back almost all my other posts, it just didn't come to me earlier!
I have an answer which does not require any rearrangement of the letters after dropping the T. So still working on it even though I'm unable to post on the NPR website from my home on the Island of Gozo. I'll publish my none rearrangement solution after the Thursday deadline
Having re-read the question my supposed none rearrangement answer doesn't work with the Related Requirement it was Carthorse
Requires some Merrie Olde Country spelling, does it, Guv?
That was an elusive answer, but I got it!
Was hoping this was a Bob Lind music clue. It sadly wasn't.
Apparently, it was.
Finally got it. Excellent puzzle! When I started thinking about the current political campaign, the necessary insight suddenly came to me.
I have to say that I originally misunderstood the clue and thought that the eight letters remaining after dropping the T could be arranged into two eight-letter anagrams that were related modes of transport.I now realize that we have two anagrams that total eight letters. Back to work. The lame answer I got?Creature: ALPINE RATThe anagrams after dropping the T: AIRPLANE and NEPAL AIRAwful, yes?
It's not nearly as awful as AIR RODENT (i.e., BAT), which yields DRONE (a form of AIR transport).I hope Mike appreciates the lengths some of us went to to solve this puzzle.
I finally got it. It was a pain in the ass, but now I solved it, I congratulate you, Mike.
Okay the 9 of us here in Iowa would like some sort of clue, however obscure. We've been at this for hours!
Caleb,There is an obscure clue in my post just above yours.
Pain in the ass? Like a dachshund?
I have an answer but, it is in plural form. It makes one mode of transportation plural and the other singular, with very little rearranging needed. So, I don't know if it counts.
Not being an a-hole but is it the incorrect comma usage?
No comma meant.
We voted 9-0 that was too obscure
How come the debate wasn't televised?
Because the revolution will not be televised! Poem by Gil Scot-heron, HERON! See how off we are?
From HERON I'll remember that.
Nice come back!
Mike - very nice puzzle indeed! I finally got it working backward.
Caleb,Clues do not get any obscurer than my post from Sun May 15, 10:09:00 AM PDT:"12 bits? And all we get to look at are cinders and cicadas?!"It's a clue to the modes of transportation, not the creature.LegoWhoseNogginIsAChimeraObscura
Thanks for the kind words, hope you all enjoy it! I'll stay out for now and will check back in on Thursday. Cheers!
I understand there's a little controversy over what exactly constitutes "related" modes of transportation. The truth is, I have an answer, but neither modes seem to be related. All I know is my answer fits according to the instructions(drop the T, rearrange the rest). And yet we're still unsure if it's right. I'm almost afraid to try to link cinders and cicadas(WTF)with what popped into my head late last night. I don't even dare.
It's official: I strongly dislike all of you! And by 12 bit I assume you refer to the intersil 6100 series processor from the 70s and 80s. What about a music clue?? Last weeks "queen" helped a bit. (Haha)
You mean I've been wasting my time sifting through my PDP-8e manuals?
jan, We didn't want to tell you, but you've wasting your time here for a long time now.
Whaddya think I come here for?
Billions and billions.
How about a loan?
I'm back now. Did I miss anything?
Caleb,But my "12-bit" clue is a musical clue. It refers to lyrics.LegoWhoAlsoKindaDislikesHimselfAlso
I guess I won't kmow until Thursday if I should have attempted to solve this week's challenge.The solution must be a doozy to have elicited the looniest Blaineville comment thread ever.
I only k-mow when my sod friends ask. ;-)
Yes, you should try and solve it. It is worthwhile. You still have time.
I appreciate the advice, sdb, but I no longer do anagrams.I gave them up on the 65th anniversary of giving up cotton candy.
MJ, are you sure you are not a politician? That is quite a spin job you did on that cotton candy story.
Slow day, WW?
Slow and rainy, MJ.
And too windy to stack BBs.
"Too windy to stack BBs."Never heard or saw it before.Gonna remember it.
The usual context is when someone suggests something to do. The reply is, "Might as well. It's too. . ." You get the picture. A handy phrase and time tested.
"Too windy to stack BBs" is a wonderful gift from this puzzle, GB. Many thanks.
Been racking my brain and finally got it. I'm a relative newbie to the Sunday puzzle, and I've seen me skills grow. Just a few years ago, there is no way I'd gotten this answer. Love this site but don't comment a lot. Keep reminding myself to not tell my friend and cousin about this site. Even though we are related, we are fierce competitors!
Spent way to much time on this today despite work being a total circus, but I think I got it?
Upon further reflection...I think my previous answer was incorrect, and does not make any sense if I'm interpreting the clues here correctly. Drat.
I initially dismissed this creature as a possibility, but then a surge of formal logic hit me during this morning's commute and I ultimately arrived at the correct answer.My favorite unintended answers:CUTE OKAPIPOETIC AUKEach can be rearranged without the T to yield KIA COUPE.
With all due respect to Mike H., I rarely get frustrated enough with a puzzle to just give up. But, I've already spent way too much time this week scrolling through lists of creatures looking for a nine-letter (any combination of words) creature with a t in its name that anagrams to two types of transport. I resign from this puzzle.
Blew a tire? Or, as they might say on Merrie Olde Gozo, a tyre?
Oh, thank heavens.I really wanted to get this one, because it was submitted by a Blainesville resident.I had already thought of the creature but I was making a false assumption; got it pretty fast when I dropped the assumption and considered the same creature again.
I used to get around exclusively by means of heavy construction equipment. But I've changed since then.
BUTTERFLY – T = FLY & UberTMy Hints:“I finally got it. It was a pain in the ass, but now I solved it,…” Ass, a.k.a. BUTT.“Vanity Fare.” Their big hit song was "Hitchin' a Ride".The extra T threw me off, but I Googled Uber to see if it was part of the business name I did not know about. But I, at first, was looking at mythical creatures for the answer because the word, creature, is so broad in its’ meaning I was unsure where to look. This is my only complaint of this puzzle, which otherwise I think is clever.
Way to go, and thanks for the kind words -- glad you enjoyed, and glad you solved!"Creature" was an edit from "Animal" from Mr. Shortz, and I think an improvement. It reminded me of a previous time the term 'creature' was used for animal. It can broaden the possibilities, surely, but it also removes doubt or argument about taxonomy of animals (species vs. genus, family, colloquial term, etc.).
All I could come up with was STONEFISH -> FINS, SHOE (or FIN, SHOES). I'm sure that's wrong.
BUTTERFLY - T = UBER & LYFT
The definition of "Creature" includes any living thing. So I came up with CLASSMATE. Drop the T and you get "camel" and "ass", both pack animals and modes of transportation.
CORMORANT is more fun if you drop the N and rearrange to get MOTORCARI suppose you could float downstream on a LOG to the sawmill, and then watch it get sawed up into RAILroad ties. Just don't let the ALLIGATOR get you.When I was a kid, I had a little red Radio FLYER wagon and read a rhyme about three men setting out to sea in a TUB, but that didn't seem right somehow.I thought about all sorts of animals, and then turned to mythological creatures and monsters. From there it was a short step to PRESIDENT. A president is a creature, after all. RIDE then popped out at me, and then a song popped into my head, and then I recalled this news story. LYFT + UBER + T => BUTTERFLYlego's alternate puzzle kind of lost me. I came up withMARIPOSA => MARIP => PI RAM instead.
Wow, you did go to some lengths -- great job in solving it!I, too, was flummoxed by LL's obscure but excellent language clue, and actually spent time on it -- somewhat concerned about a solid alternate answer.Once the extra letter/misspelling came into play, then it became clear that disentangling "papillion" (sic) in *French* was the way to go...Phew!
I also enjoyed your 'very nervous' hint.
Paul, there was no hint -- I *was* very nervous!Seeing some of the incredible word association here, I've actually thought this would be a fun experiment: *Before* a puzzle is posted, people could post a few sentences of banter. I wonder, to what degree, we could rationalize that there were hidden hints in some of the random comments???
Not only was this puzzle a pleasure to solve, but it reminded me of the butterfly language joke.
Glad you enjoyed! How did you approach it? Interestingly, I will never be able to solve this puzzle myself! :)Similar to the mother's day puzzle, had I been stuck, I would have wondered if the answer were recent and topical. Those are the type of puzzles that would pop into people's heads as they turn over and play with new and unique words (e.g. "Elon Musk"), and perhaps are also the same solutions that might pop into people's heads.
Nice work, Mike!I got caught up on the wording and first exhausted all options of creatures in nine letters with only ONE 't'. I then worked backwards, pairing together possible modes of transportation, including brand names, totaling eight letters. That's when I came across Uber, Lyft, and the possibility of a second 't'.
Mike and jsulbyrne- I too worked backwards, looking for two related modes of transportation. The sequence of ideas went something like this (without regard for the number of letters): horse/buggy, bike/scooter, bus/van, car/SUV, Ford/Audi, Hertz/Avis,Uber/Lyft.
Yes, very nice puzzle, Mike. Particularly in that none of the anagram solvers on the web seem to know about Uber and Lyft.
My answer was MANTICORE / MICRA / EON. A manticore may be a mythical creature, but it is a creature nonetheless. Micra and Eon are related modes of transportation because they are both car brands. I wrote that if you take one letter from the creature I got, and scramble, you get a word quite related to one in the puzzle as stated. That is, MANTICORE - M = CREATION. ---Rob
To that end, MANTICORE is an anagram of CREMATION. Doesn't that just burn you up?
This discussion is getting a bit heated, don't you think? However it did spark my interest at first.
Rob,I believe that yours is an excellent alternative answer that is actually quite similar to the spirit of Mike's puzzle. Car brand names are pretty equivalent to "transportation network company" names. (Who knows if any of them are "modes"? I sure don't!)Will ought to mention your answer on the air, as well as alternative answers by others who have posted their legitimate alternative answers (with "related" a potential deal-breaker in some cases), including ron, SuperZee, patjberry, et al.LegoWhoIsACreatureOfRabbit=LapinAvecPoil
I worked with butterfly in the first hour and and could only think of Fly and Tuber. I didn't even consider Uber, much less UberT. In fact, I had never heard of UberT before! Some good answers here, though!
I once built a potato cannon to make a tuber fly, but that's not much a mode of transportation.
“Remember that hurricane a thousand miles away? That was me!”
That's a good one!
Yes, jan, and wondering about Lorenzo's BUTTERFLY joke.Embedded here is a short video of a BUTTERFLY CICADA. Lego, you tried to point us here. . .
"... And what's the matter with Schmetterling?"
Exactly. . .
Hmmm... I was stymied by two things: (1) the wording implied (though I admit did not state) that there was only one T, and (2) Uber and Lyft are, to me, the same "mode of transport." Mode, to me, is a more general term. Oh well, first one I've missed in a long time.
Bryan, I'd agree they are really both the same mode of transport. That stymied me as well.It's a good puzzle, mike_h, and wording is everything. I'd have used "animal" and mentioned the double 't.' But, I liked it anyway.It will be fun to see how few butterfly solvers fly by this week.
My answer:Bandicoot-t=doob+Cain.Both are capable of transporting you down the road to nowhere.
And, for another wrong answer:TITAN CRAB - T --> TRAIN AND CAB, two modes of public transportation. Unfortunately, although there are plenty of references to GIANT CLAMS, I couldn't find any to TITAN CRABS...
I had GUILLEMOT, LUGE and LIMO. There was some debate about the use of the word "related" in the directions. I didn't think a luge or limo were related. I was just happy I got an answer. I've also never heard of Lyft, though my mother jokingly suggested maybe Uber would be a part of it.
1.BUTTERFLY>>>FLYER (a person or thing that flies, e.g. a plane), TUB (a clumsy slow-moving boat, or a vehicle on rails for carrying loads in a mine)Lego's hint: Butterfly in French is “papillon” which, with an extra “i”, becomes “lapin” & “poil,” which is “hair”(pelage) and its homophone “hare”(lièvre), a relative of “rabbit”(lapin).A cicada is a “flyer” and a “tub” hauls coal (cinders).2. TREE SNAIL>>>SEA/(ocean)LINER (“related” modes of transport)3. The Curtis solution (article included): PLATYFISH>>>A SHIP/FLY.
My mention of a "surge" during the morning commute was a reference to Uber's practice of charging more during rush hour, aka "surge pricing".
You know if we keep telling Shortz what a good boy he is, he will keep giving us this kind of junk.The use of the term creature was designed to be less, not more, exact.Saying there is a "T" and to remove it plainly indicates that there is only one.Calling two companies that provide identical services "related modes" is either careless. stupid or misleading.So I'd say whatever Mike sent him, Will changed it to an 0 for 3.I am glad I waited until the dust settled to look at this challenge. Do we have to wait until Sunday for the answer?
Mendo Jim:Other than that, what did you think of the puzzle?
How about this wording?"Name an animal in nine letters. The name contains 2 Ts. Drop one of the Ts, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell two ways of getting around on the ground. What are they?"
I did find air + plane + t = Liptenara, a genus of butterfly with 3 species endemic to Africa. But I never made the broader butterfly connection.While the puzzle is cute (credit to Mike H), Uber and Lyft are not "modes of transportation". They are companies that provide ride sharing services.Finally, as a founding member of the Society To Reduce Anagram Puzzles (please join today!) it is against our bylaws to participate in this sort of puzzle.
First off: congrats again to mike_hinterberg. We had fun this week. Thanks, Mike.Second off: I did not get the call today. Did anyone here get it? I'm guessing there were less than 47 correct answers -- decent odds.Third off: I apologize to all for my "Papilion" (sic) puzzle/clue.Fourth off: The "single-T/double-T dilemma concerned me, but Uber and Lyft were so perfectly elegant and "un-anagram-enginable," (as jan noted) that I knew it HAD to be correct. Too much of a coincidence otherwise.To solve this: after trying a few creatures I worked backward, like jsulbyrne. I noted an "Uber" lurking in butterfly. "Lyft," which was in the periphery of my neologistic radar, I had to duckduckgoogle in order to confirm as an Uber-like service.Fifth off: My cinder/cicada hint had nothing to do with butterflies, and everything to do with taxis!Here is a slightly edited italicized version of a comment I posted on my Puzzleria blog Sunday evening. (May 15, 2016 at 8:35 PM):The second hint I gave for Mike Hinterberg's NPR puzzle (at about Sunday noon Central Time over on Blaine's blog) read:"12 bits? And all we get to look at are cinders and cicadas?!"The sentence above is a hint to the "modes of transportation." Specifically, it is a hint to a third "related mode of transportation" that is not one of Mike's intended "two related modes."It is ultimately a "musical hint."It might be best if you can find synonyms for "cinders" and "cicadas," and go on from there.Mike Hinterberg just posted over on Blaine's that he wished people to solve his puzzle, but "with some effort." I want to respect that wish by not giving too much away… The synonyms for "cinders" and "cicadas" are, respectively, "ashes" and "locusts." Ashes and locusts are both trees.And so: "12 bits? And all we get to look at are cinders and cicadas?!" alluded to the following song lyric from "Big Yellow Taxi":"They took all the treesAnd put them in a tree museumAnd they charged all the peopleA dollar and a half to see 'em"Uber and Lyft are pseudotaxis, I guess.Sixth off: You will find four "Ripping/Riffing Off Mike" piggyback puzzles on tomorrow's edition of Puzzleria!... (Plus a great skydiveboy puzzle and five other brain-ticklers. Drop by!)LegoWhoIsNotSureWhat"Mode"MeansAllHeKnowsIsThatHeDoesNotLikeToSeeTaxicabsInTheMedian!
That, of course, should be "Papillion" (sic still!, but because of the extraneous "i", not because of the missing "l" which I have now added!)LegoLaments:"Boy,IJustCannontSpellThatFrenchWordForButterfly!"
PAPILLON is spelled with only one I.
Don't hound him!
I'm just toying with him. Don't cross this span, y'all.
I knew it was "Big Yellow Taxi"! On a "related" note, there are quite a few environmental songs listed, but that one would have been my first guess. As tricky as that puzzle was, I do hope no one, if I may paraphrase the song, pave our puzzle paradise and put up a parking lot!
Okay, I'm going to get picky here. Uber and Lyft are, in my opinion, not modes of transport. They are brands of transport. One would say that Southwest or United are brands of transport, and flight, air, airline, or airplane are modes of transport. Uber, Lyft, Yellow, etc, are brands, and taxi, cab,,auto, car, or car service are modes. The answer I came up with, but did not submit were alligator, rail, and a log, as in floating on a log, or a log flume.
I don't want to forget to say it, so great clue Lego (though I had the wrong song) and kudos to the audience for great clues overall and participation. That being said...I had an entire crew of intelligent people, and regular Iowans (ha) on this puzzle for days. I'd gone so far as to chase down every rabbit hole of a clue all of these a-holes left on this site! I finally went so far as to mass Google search all creatures and/or animals with 9 letters and a T, subtract the T from results, and run the remaining 8 letters through Internet anagram solvers to find any modes of transportation that might possibly fit. Yet (obviously) I found no answer- nor did any of the dozens of people I had hooked on this puzzle. I will grant you that the second part of the puzzle is fair. Uber and lyft fit your puzzle, though they're a bit oblique for folks who live in areas that have never had any such services. I could live with that disappointment.However, the first part of your puzzle lies somewhere between an inadvertent misuse of the English language and a deliberate attempt at frustrating shenanigans. I'll let you do the boring grunt work of verifying, but "a" as a word used in the English language in this context is an indefinite article referring to a single noun. Check merriams, Cambridge, or any grammar nut you happen to know but the phrasing used ("contains "a" T...drop the T...") means a singular T. One. Not two. If you bet me to do something for a dollar and I do it, how many dollars do you owe me? If I say I have a girlfriend, do you ask "what's one of their names? If you order a beer at a bar do you get served 2? We use this function of language so often in daily life that to phrase it so poorly makes me think you were more malicious than careless. I assume you would argue that, logically, the containment of one T would not preclude the containment of further Ts. Yet as an LSAT master with a JD I can assure you that proper phrasing of the question in correct English comes well before the application of any logical reasoning. I got sucked into this puzzle world by a friend last week trying to win the contest and thought your thermometer puzzle was excellent. I've been obsessed with this damn creature puzzle (dragging other poor souls into the vortex as well) all week and looked forward to another good one. Instead you frustrated a week of my life ( I want a refund) and it feels like a cobra stikg to the sack. Consider eastern Iowa (and a bit of Texas, Detroit, and Missouri) as officially boycotting this contest for the foreseeable future. To adapt a great quote from a great movie: "nowhere in that incorrect puzzle did I detect what might be considered a rational English sentence. Furthermore, everyone here is now dumber for having attempted. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul." -A disgruntled former puzzle-solverWhich would be HOW many disgruntled former puzzle-solvers writing the message?
Mike, I think your wording, for the most part, works better than that used by WS. I was thrown off by creature because it can mean mythological beings, and also personalities, such as a Trump. Critter might have been better than either creature or animal. but, more important is the T issue. Your wording solves that problem, but WS worded it improperly, in my opinion anyway. Lots of good puzzles have minor problems, but I still enjoyed this one after I found a way to make it work.
My logic from the beginning was to find a creature's name with (at least) one T in it, pick a T, any T, and drop the T that I chose ...Is the pronounced 'thuh' or 'thee'?
In other words, would "drop that T" make anybody happy?
However, I think Mike's original wording is best. In order to drop something, it had to be there in the first place. Will may have been painting legs on a snake. And I just hated seeing the poor critter running around barefoot.Is a snake with legs something like a newt?
I thought this was a good, WS type, puzzle. I went through what seemed like the full gamut of possible answers, too. I thought the two 'T's was perfectly valid, a typical WS ploy! My big mistake was not recognizing 'UBER', still mad at myself for that.Oh well, there's always the next puzzle!
Here's an easy one:Name a(meaning one)well--known TV actor from the 1960s, first and last names. Change the last letter of the first name to another letter about six places earlier in the alphabet, and you'll get a part of a hospital hopefully no one on this blog will ever have to visit, because it would be painful(though I do NOT speak from personal experience). Who is he, and what is it? I'll tell you next week.
If I solve it earlier, do I win something?
After going through a whole bunch of names, the idea finally hit me, Patrick.....but I'm never clever enough to give good hints.
Got it! I must say it feels good to be back in the groove after having been stumped by Mike's puzzle. That one had me climbing the walls.
Scary puzzle, easier if I could spell correctly. Interesting how his last name and most famous role are related.Another easy puzzle: Name an animal, 8 letters. Change the 5th letter 2 places later in the alphabet, rearrange for a mode of transportation in 2 words.
Anybody else ever wonder if the character was licensed to drive?
This just in: Only 15% of American adults have used Uber or Lyft, while a third have never heard of them.
Apparently, I did not get the intended answer. Here is what I submitted: : PILOT FISH becomes SHIP and FOIL (short for HYDROFOIL)Thanks -- Phil J.
I forgot to mention that I will be suspicious if Will's NPR partner announces a potential on-air contestant pool of more than about 20.
I was so desperate that I considered:DEMOCRATS = DEMOS & CAR orFearing a trick answer, I combined "a creature" into a 9 letter word. This resulted in:ACURA & REE - REE is a big transport company in the U.S. Needless to say, I didn't wait around for the phone to ring on Thursday afternoon!!
Ha! Thanks mike- I'll take that beer(s)! And yes, your original wording would be correct be cause you said drop a t from the name. Meaning singular- i.e. Drop ONE T. Which is how many are dropped. Aside: this is not an opinion question people. Correct and incorrect. Grammar cares not for your sense of fairness or what you think of as valid. It say da rule and you be following or breaking it. No subjectivity! Except at the dictionary company of course. So it sounds like I need to direct my (admittedly deflated...ADD flare up) ire at this ws character eh? I suppose I'll compromise and end my boycott after the next legal and valid puzzle. Or when I'm bored. I did get to use "too windy to stack BBs" today though. That's a plus! Later alligator. (See what I did there?)
No. What did you do?
In the 36-hour downtime before Will Shortz presents us with his next NPR challenge, why not visit us on “Joseph Young’s Puzzleria!”? (Blaine has generously provided clickable access under his “PUZZLE LINKS.”I said yesterday there would be 10 puzzles on P! this week. I lied. There are only 9. But it is a case of quality trumping quantity…Here’s what we got: a fun movie-star puzzle created by skydiveboy, a few names-and-occurrences-in the news puzzle, four ripping/riffing-off mike_hnterberg puzzles, A Grammy Winner/Youth Organization puzzle, and a puzzle that gives you 35 words that all have something somewhat unusual in common.So, C’mon over. No need to order and devour everything on our menus. Just hover and ruminate, pick at and chews. Comment if you want, lurk if you like. No pressure… just puzzles.LegoShamelessPlugsRUs
Next week's challenge: Name a common household item in 6 letters. Change the middle two letters to a P, and you'll get the 5-letter last name of a famous person who professionally used that item. What's the item, and who's the person?
The item used professionally by the famous person was not a common household item.
The answer I have agrees with Jan's observation. I'd argue that someone else used the item on behalf of the famous person.
Oh, sdb's gonna love this one.
The younger generation of Blainiacs may have a hard time coming up with this person's name.
There is also a reference for the older generation embedded in the answer.
Honestly, this one must be really easy, since I got it with no hints and no resort to references.
May this not-younger-generation Blainiac be the first to suggest an add-on puzzle?Name a common household item in 6 letters. Change three interior letters to a P, and you'll get the 4-letter last name in the nom de plume [sorta] of a famous person who professionally used that item. What's the item, and who's the person?
While I agree with Jan's observation, I reckon that we'll have a better shot at deciphering this week's puzzle than the prior one.
So far this answer doesn't ring any bells. It's gotta be better than last weeks.